This is definitely one of those movies where it helps to have read the book. In fact, I doubt anyone who hasn’t read the book – a best-seller by Audrey Niffenegger – will have a clue what’s going on.
Here’s the gist: Chicago librarian Henry DeTamble (Eric Bana) has a genetic anomaly that causes him to travel through time, without warning, and without clothes. He pops in and out of the present and can be gone for minutes, hours, days or weeks at a time. That can put a strain on any marriage, but Henry’s wife Clare (Rachel McAdams) is a trooper. She’s known Henry since he first appeared naked in her family’s meadow when she was six and he was in his late 30s.
If you can get past the creepy ‘ick’ factor of this budding romance, you may be able to get into the movie. If not, fuggedaboutit. Henry and Clare’s odd, yet epic journey (and Bana’s frequently bare backside) makes The Time Traveler’s Wife an okay chick flick, but it’s not a good movie for the masses. A couple of guys in the theater made a mad dash for the exit midway through the movie… probably wishing they could travel back in time and save themselves ten bucks.
There is a LOT more to the book than there is to the movie, including characters, themes and an ending that would likely have garnered it an ‘R’ rating instead of ‘PG-13’. I don’t think the filmmakers did themselves any favors going for a more sanitized version of the book, which also contains written cues and fleshed-out characters that provide much-needed support and context to the Henry-Clare romance.
Bottom line: If you’ve read the book, you’ll probably find the movie mildly entertaining and be intrigued by what made the final cut. Otherwise, you may just find it disturbing and confusing and just plain weird. Watch the Trailer.